British Airways pilots have threatened to stage fresh strike action after their union Balpa claimed BA parent IAG “laid the blame” with the airline’s striking pilots for the group’s profit warning, issued on Thursday (26 September).
IAG said the industrial action, the first by BA pilots for more than 40 years, was now likely to impact its full-year profits. It has calculated the full cost of the action, to date, to the carrier would run to €137 million (£121 million).
Balpa’s BA members walked out over 9-10 September in a dispute over pay and conditions. A second strike scheduled for 27 September was later called off, but not before BA had already begun to revise its flight schedule to mitigate the impact of the walkout. In total, 2,325 flights were cancelled.
The union believes IAG has failed to adequately reward BA pilots for the part they have played in the group’s record £3 billion profits. BA said it offer of a 11.5% pay increase over three years still stands, and had been accepted by its other unions, representing about 90% of the airline’s employees.
In a trading update issued on Thursday, IAG said that there had been no further talks with Balpa over the issue. Balpa said BA laying the blame with its pilots for the financial impact was “disingenuous”.
“According to [the] profit warning by IAG, British Airways lost £120 million as a result of strike action which they could have avoided for £5 million; not allowing for the huge cost of disruption to passengers and freight users," said the union.
“The airline’s tactic to lay the blame for a fall in profits at the door of the pilots, and without any mention of the impact their IT issue or GDPR fine, is completely disingenuous.
“Balpa has tried to remain reasonable during this dispute and offered a compromise to BA on 4 September, and then on 18 September we called off the strike planned for 27 September to allow for a period of reflection.
“Given we have had no response from the airline to our request for meaningful negotiations, BA pilots believe their management is treating them with contempt and are now asking Balpa to consider more strike dates.”
General secretary Brian Strutton added:“This is proof that BA’s intransigence towards its pilots is economic madness. Their total disengagement is evidence of a senior management team that has lost the plot and doesn’t know how to resolve their dispute with their pilots.”
A BA spokesperson said: "We remain open and willing to negotiate."
IAG declined to comment beyond its trading update.